French Illusions: My Story as an American Au Pair in the Loire Valley is the first of two books based on my diaries from 1979 and 1980. Twenty-one-year-old Linda Kovic needs to learn a language fast in order to fulfill her dream of becoming a flight attendant, so she contracts to become an au pair for a wealthy family in the Loire Valley. In order to secure the nanny position, she lies on her application and pretends to speak French, confident she'll be forgiven once she arrives at her destination. This book captures Linda's real-life story inside and outside the Chateau de Montclair, detailing her challenges and triumphs as she tries to adjust to her new life with the hard-to-please Madame Dubois, her husband, and their two incomprehensible children. When Linda attends language classes at a local university, she encounters, Adam, a handsome young student, and her life with the family becomes more complicated, adding fuel to her internal battle for independence. Join Linda on her adventure of discovery and romance in an extraordinary part of the world.
©2012 Linda Kovic-Skow (P)2016 Linda Kovic-Skow
I confess to having read the paperback version of this book some while ago. Having really enjoyed it, I wanted to broaden my range by listening to some audio books. I chose this one, and was not disappointed. The author as a young girl gets a position with a French family although she cannot speak the lingo. Her trials and tribulations, the ups and downs of her life with the Dubois family are laid bare in a light and witty style, making listening to the book a most pleasurable pastime as I reacquainted myself with the storyline and, for me, those glorious scenes set in the Loire valley; one of the regions of France that I know so well.If I had a slight criticism, it would be the fairly strong American accent of the narrator, which took some getting used to, but I suppose that is the main target audience. Great fun, nevertheless.
I loved the eBook version of this Memoir and loved this audio-version just as much - was great to 'hear' the memoir being narrated. I thought it was put together very well for all the folks that were part of the Author's life at that time...
Difficult to say, but, Madame Dubois was portrayed very well - as was the author herself - all of it really.
I have also read the book and I thought Lucy Floyd narrated the whole thing very well.
I just loved how the narrator read this book.
I'm really looking forward to listening to Linda Kovic-Skow's follow-up book. I have read that before too and I am sure Lucy Floyd will make an excellent job of that one too.
I enjoyed it all and Lucy Floyd really got the feeling and meaning across really well.
It was a delight to listen to. The narrator got the varying emotions across beautifully-she didn't just read it-she injected real meaning into the words.
I've read quite a few memoirs of people retiring and moving to Spain, Italy and Greece but this is something different. Linda tells of when she was twenty-one and working as a medical assistant for a family practice clinic in Seattle. Her real ambition was to be a flight attendant with an International Airline. The only stumbling block was that she needed to be able to speak another language. This is Linda's story of how she went to France to work as an Au Pair to try and 'drop herself in at the deep end' to learn the language as she went along.
She wasn't entirely honest with the Dubois family who she went to work for as she told them that she could already speak French. At first, on finding out her deception, they seemed quite tolerant and helped her to enrol in classes to learn the language. Gradually Madame Dubois asks more and more of Linda so that she gets to the point of wondering if she can cope with the job anymore.
Linda does quite an amount of cooking with Madame and there are some lovely descriptions of the foods in the book which evoke smells and taste. I really enjoyed this, it was nice easy listening with fairly short chapters. It's intriguing, you are kept guessing as Madame Dubois's behaviour is changeable, it must have been very confusing for the young Linda. There's a bit of romance in here too, a lovely varied read.
I really liked the audio version of this book. It was read very well. There was a nice tone to the narrator's voice. I could imagine her as Linda with her American accent. I am no expert but I thought her French accent was also excellent, not overdone, it was very natural. I've already enjoyed this book a couple of years ago in kindle format; it's good to hear it and experience it again from another angle. The narrator really made it come to life. I loved her French accent-both for the actual French, and when she was portraying Madame Dubois speaking English with a French accent. An excellent production.
"Interesting and kept my attention"
I am a lover of France and the French language. I enjoyed this audiobook partly because of the narrator speaking so much French in such an authentic accent and also because I have been that girl who tells a white lie to get what she wants and then ends up paying dearly. The story held my attention and I looked forward to listening to it each time I had time.
Adam was my favorite character. I know French men just like him.
Madam Debois with her nasty French attitude. I know French women like her.
"A Delightful Read"
At first I couldn't quite figure out why I loved this book. My husband asked how it was and I replied, Great! then he asked why and I couldn't come up with the right words. I mean it has a good story and good writing but that's all generic. Then while listening to a friend I realized why I enjoyed this book so much. The entire book, from beginning to end, felt like I was listening to a dear friend tell me all about their adventure. it was familiar yet new, comforting and intriguing all at the same time. I loved it.
"A young girl's experience as an au-pair in France."
"French Illusions" is the delightful story of Linda who dreams of learning French during her au-pair year in the Loire Valley in France. Her stay with an aristocratic family in a real French chateau does not turn out quite as she expected. I enjoyed Linda's description of the French Loire Valley and its historic towns, her culinary experiences and of course, as it is France, romance also comes into it. The narrator Lucy Floyd beautifully brings the story to life. Anyone who enjoys speaking and learning French will benefit from the tidbits of French scattered throughout the story.
"Audio brings the story to life"
I have already read both books in the pair and I love the story of personal growth through very difficult circumstances. It is also a very different kind of love story.
It is a real glimpse into the mind of a 21-year-old women in 1980, far from home.
Lucy is brilliant with voices and bringing nuanced emotions out of the characters.
I love the interactions between Linda and the children.
Whispersync is great for this book. I get to see the snippets of written french and hear the pronunciation.
"Great story remarkable narration"
The narrator's wonderful ability to use different voices within the story.
Linda and Madame Dubois, Linda being so honest and direct in her story and Madame was the antithesis of Linda.
Superb job! She was able to differentiate characters and it was easy to discriminate voices while listening.
The end of the story was a total surprise!
I am looking forward to listening to book number two and hearing Lucy again!
"An interesting window into the life of an au pair"
As someone who always wished I had spent an extended time overseas during my college years, I found this book interesting. I have always been interested in French culture and learning different languages, so it was interesting to see how someone with little-to-no background in a language can pick it up when immersed in another country. It was interesting to see what was required in an au pair position, and its position within a family.
I listened to the Audible audio version of this book narrated by Lucy Floyd, and I enjoyed her narration. She did a really good job giving a unique voice to each character, and she did really good with the French accents and language.
This was an enjoyable book and I think anyone who is interested in a different culture would enjoy it.
"A Charming Story"
I haven't read the print version; only listened to the audio version. I studied French in high school so if I had read the words, I'm sure the foreign language wouldn't have hindered me. For a non-speaker, I can imagine readers skipping over the French parts. In that regard, the audio might be an advantage for folks not familiar with the language.
Most vivid was near the end when Madam DuBois and Linda had the "discussion."
Lucy Floyd did a great job on the French. The narration was good overall, although her characterization of Linda seemed a wee bit off. I would liked to have seen Linda portrayed as a spunkier young woman. My favorite? I suppose the Madam's character stood out to me. Floyd really captured the disdain she had for Linda.
I would never be able to listen to ANY audiobook in one sitting. But I did, however, look forward to getting back to listening. I wanted to see how Linda was doing at the chateau and getting along with the family. I was anxious to see which of all the potential love interests we met along the way she would choose.
The book made me hungry! So much talk of all the delicious pastries and gourmet food. Now I'm on the lookout for chocolate mouse and strudel. Darn you, Linda! ;)
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